Food Job: TV Star

Today, one hundred million households can tune into the Food Network. There are stations in New York, Atlanta, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Detroit, and Knoxville. There are viewers in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Philippines, Monaco, Polynesia, and Great Britain. More people watch the Food Network than CNN. It no longer aims to teach cooking techniques or kitchen skills. Instead, it has lurched into the production of cooking shows featuring the assembly of store-bought components, and of cooking-competition shows that choose winners and losers. It also has an unfathomable addiction to cup cakes.

What is turning this huge audience on to all of it’s culinary idols, as featured on the Food Network though my impression is that Guy Fieri takes up 23 of the 24 hours a day. (Maybe many people like him?) Vast swaths of people appear to have the time to watch others cook and eat, and exclaim how good it all smells—but to have no time to cook for themselves.

Everything smells fabulous on the television screen. This phenomenon is frequently noted by Ina Garten, the “Barefoot Contessa,” who cooks for her well-heeled pals and punctuates every divine, “how easy is that?” moment with mirthless laughter. “Smells great” and the words “quick” and “easy” are well-known to the perpetually smiling and cleavage-revealing Giada and the lovely folk who come and go promising dinners that cost mere pennies and are quick and easy…and Oh Yes! Smells Great!!!

 

Breaking into the Food Media

The Emmy-nominated food-show producer and director Irene Wong offers some sound advice:

“If you want to be in front of the camera, my advice is to watch a lot of food programs. Get an idea of why each show works. Why is Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives among the most popular shows on the Food Network? Why is Rachael Ray so appealing? They’re giving the audience something they want. Figure out how you are going to deliver what you want to say about food, but also what the audience wants to hear. Find out what your food identity is, what your food voice is. Your brand. Make it stand out from everyone else. If you’re the only person who can deliver your brand, that will make you more attractive to television executives, because you will be irreplaceable.”

It also helps a lot to take a media training course.  Performing in front of a camera is a lot harder than it looks.

 

How to Be a Personal Chef

personal-chef-in-kitchen-vertThe role of personal chef was virtually unknown a few years ago. Today more than 7,000 are registered as active members of the American Personal Chef Association. Industry leaders estimate this number will swell to more than 25,000 within the next 10 years. They will be serving nearly 300,000 clients and contributing nearly $1.2 billion to the U.S. economy.

A personal chef plans menus, shops for food, and cooks it in a client’s home. He may pack it in neatly labeled containers with heating directions, store it in the refrigerator or freezer and, then leave the kitchen in pristine condition. He or she customarily is employed by several clients. Continue reading

Surprise Food Job: Food Myth Buster

“Imagine that you have been washed up on a desert island. There is fresh water available, but you can have only two other foods.” Paul Rozin, professor of psychology at The University of Pennsylvania, asked the following: “From this list, which would keep you going until help arrives: corn, alfalfa sprouts, hot dogs, spinach, peaches, bananas, or milk chocolate?”

The correct answer is hot dogs and milk chocolate. They come closest to providing a diet of survival.”

The researcher Anna Frost explains:

“While they may not be the best everyday diet in normal life, hot dogs and milk chocolate both contain fat, protein, and, in the case of the hot dogs, a better amino acid balance, which give a human sufficient nutrition to survive for a year. Foods like bananas and peaches lack these precious nutrients: they are primarily composed of carbohydrates, water, vitamins, and minerals, and constitute only part of a complete diet. The point of this question is not to prepare people to reenact Gilligan’s Island with a year’s supply of Hebrew National [hot dogs], but instead to consider how we stereotype foods as “good” or “bad.”

Food Job: Myth Buster

Vegetarian Chef Food Jobs

There is a pesky problem with teetotaling and dessert- and coffee-refusing vegans and vegetarians. There are, though, “modified” vegetarians who refuse red meat but willingly accept fish and chicken. The more dedicated among them tend to challenge the server to reveal the previous living conditions of the chicken. (There are some folk who understand that having a free-range chicken is as dangerous as having a free-range boyfriend, because you never know where he has been!) Furthermore, they may insist that the food contain no salt, no butter and, obviously, no ingredient to which they are allergic.

 

            Preparing several vegetables and arranging them beautifully on the plate takes far more time on the part of the kitchen staff than tossing a steak on the grill and retrieving a baked potato from the oven. And despite a considerable amount of fetching and carrying, at the end of what may be a relatively small meal, the server can expect a tip, albeit calculated with excruciating accuracy.

 

Food Job: Allergy Researcher

peaFortunate are those who do not suffer from an allergy. This is a health issue to be taken with the utmost seriousness.

Many people believe that they are allergic to specific foods, but in fact, genuine food allergies, which attack the body’s immune system and many become life threatening, show up in only one to two percent of the adult population.

A far more common experience is food intolerance–a disagreeable reaction that bears many of the symptoms of an allergy. Food intolerances are extremely unpleasant, but they won’t kill you.

The season also plays a significant role in the intensity of intolerance and allergic reaction to some foods. For example, someone who is allergic to cantaloupe may be more susceptible in the spring and fall when the increase in airborne pollen can trigger symptomsContinue reading

Obesity — Figures Expanding

All American Banana Split

All American Banana Split

Telling Tales: On the first day I came to America, I met Fred. He invited me to have lunch in a small restaurant in the Village (in NYC). I wanted to have a banana split as I had seen one on the movies.

When it came, I thought the waiter was just showing it to me and would take it in the back and serve a small portion. I gasped when I realized the whole thing was for me. I declared I could never eat such a huge thing.

And then I did.

I didn’t share but maybe I should have.

Food Job: Childhood Obesity Researcher

First Lady Michelle Obama launched the Let’s Move! Initiative before a gathering of 800 invited chefs in the Rose Garden of the White House. She said, “This is an initiative to reverse the devastating long-term consequences of childhood obesity and to improve the quality of the food served in public schools.”

She encouraged all invited guests to join in the challenge by saying, “You are all at the heart of this initiative . . . You know more about food than almost anyone—other than grandmas—and you’ve got the visibility and the enthusiasm to match that knowledge.”